Mobile Raspberry Pi Computer: Build your own portable Pi-to-Go


Mobile Raspberry Pi Computer to go

Aw, yes, the Raspberry Pi Computer, a credit card size mini PC that only cost $35. There are so many possibilities and uses for these small nano PCs. People have made them into PVRs (personal video recorders), retro gaming machines, weather stations, in-car PCs, jukeboxes, and so many more creative ideas. When I started this project four weeks ago, I just wanted to see if it was possible to make an ultra portable, mobile Raspberry Pi that you can take to-go. As I was building my Pi-to-Go I kept saying to myself, it would be cool if it had this, and then I would find a way to make it happen.


My mobile Raspberry Pi Computer is now complete and because this is an open source project I wanted to show you everything, including how to build one yourself. I will even provide links to the parts I needed to purchase and the 3D printer STL files to print your own case. So here we go!


Just a quick blurb about myself. I am the founder and CEO of Parts-People.com, Inc. which specializes exclusively in Dell Laptops; and specifically Dell replacement parts, Dell laptop repair, and Dell laptop refurbishing. So I have more than 10 years experience in repairing and building laptops. Okay, lets move on.

LCD Screen


The LCD I used is from an after market backup camera system that can be installed in a car. The screen is a low resolution and I hope to find a better upgrade for my next version of the mobile RPi to-go. So for this proof of concept, it works just fine. The screen is 3.5" using a 4:3 aspect ratio. It uses a composite input and is able to display a resolution of 640 x 480 pixels.

Battery Pack


First off, be very careful when messing with lithium-ion batteries. Neither Parts-People.com, Inc nor I are responsible for any damages caused by this tutorial. Proceed at your own risk. Because I own a company that sells only laptop parts, it is only natural that I would use a laptop battery for this build. Laptop batteries are built in such a way that you cannot just plug something into them and use them for a battery pack. I knew it would be possible but I just needed to figure out the best way to get power out of it and how to charge it back up in the best and safest manner. I ended up using a battery for a Dell Latitude D600 laptop and just removed it from the Dell battery case. The battery was about the right size, it had the right voltage, and I had plenty of them. Those batteries have a standard Dell 9 pin battery connector. To get power out of this battery, you will need to connect pins 1,2, & 4 together for negative / ground (-) and pins 8 & 9 together for positive (+). Be sure to connect the correct leads. See picture for pin outs.

Charging the battery was easy, I just purchased an after market laptop battery charger. It connects directly to the battery's 9 pin connector and also has a battery level indicator built-in.

Internal Powered Hub


One major problem with the Raspberry Pi is a lack of power. The RPi is powered by a micro USB 5v with at least 750ma, 1A is better. But the problem is not there, it is that the USB port can only supply in the neighborhood of 120ma per port, which is not enough to run much. So I found a super small 7 port USB hub that is powered and took it apart. I needed to power 5 things: a wireless WiFi dongle, a bluetooth dongle, an SSD hard drive, a keyboard/mouse transmitter, and the Raspberry Pi itself. The power from the battery pack is 11.1 volts and the power required for the USB hub was 5 volts. What I did was connect the battery to the LCD screen which had an input of 9v-13v, and I knew that the LCD screen would have some components that would require a 5v power source (LED LCD back light for example). All I had to do was find the onboard voltage regulator and solder on leads across the 5v capacitor and solder those to the 5v input on the powered USB hub. Easy as Pi. Now we have clean regulated power for all of our devices.


Extended Storage


64GB SSD, yes I did! I wanted to add a linux swap partition because of the lack of RAM. The Raspberry Pi itself has 256MB (model B version 1) or 512MB (model B version 2). If I simply just installed a larger SD card and added a large swap file, or swap partition, I would eventually burn out the SD card. SD cards have a very limited number of read/writes and SD cards are slow. I opted for a 64GB Sata II solid state hard drive made by Samsung (model # MMBRE64GHDXP) and again I have a bunch of those in stock so it was convenient. I used an external USB hard drive caddy's circuit board to connect the SSD sata HDD directly to the internal power USB hub. I setup a 1GB (1,024 MB) Linux swap partition, and have the rest formatted in ext4 for extended storage.

Built-in WiFi & Bluetooth


I wanted to build in as many features as possible, so I got a nano USB WiFi dongle and a nano USB bluetooth dongle to install inside the mobile Pi. These are also soldered directly to the built-in powered USB hub.

Operating System


I'm using stock Raspbian Linux downloaded from raspberrypi.org. The only tweaks I made were to the config.txt file and added the Linux 1GB swap partition. I modified the config.txt file to make the LCD screen display properly and fill the whole screen.

config.txt changes
overscan_left=8
overscan_right=-40
overscan_top=-30
overscan_bottom=-30
sdtv_mode=2

Keyboard & Touchpad Mouse


I purchased a wireless 2.4Ghz USB keyboard & mouse combo. I would have preferred a wired USB but this one was the right size and price. The keyboard slides in and out via the access door on the left side of the machine. The access door also exposes the on/off switch and mini USB charge port for the keyboard too.

Overall Specs


The Raspberry Pi board I am using is a model B (revision 1) but you can use the model B (version 2) for this build.
CPUBroadcom BCM2835 ARM11 700Mhz
Memory256MB (shared with GPU)
Main Storage4GB SD Card (OS Installed)
Extended Storage64GB Sata II SSD (1GB linux swap)
WiFi WirelessBuilt-in B/G/N Card
BluetoothBuilt-in Bluetooth 3.0
Peripherals1 Powered USB Port
Video OutputHDMI Port
Keyboard / MouseQWERTY Keyboard with Touchpad Mouse
Weight1.65 lbs.

3D Printed Case


Using Google sketchup, my 3D printer, and a little creativity I was able to create a case for this mobile Pi to-go. There are five parts to the case and I have made all five parts available for download from thingiverse.com.
Download Pi-to-Go 3D files (STL) Here
Everything is made to snap together except the back access door is held on by four screws. The back of the case has a Raspberry Pi logo cut into it and it is illuminated when the device is powered on. I used a back lighting LED and the acrylic strip from the back of a backlit laptop keyboard. I cut it to the shape to fit just behind the RPi logo and soldered leads that connect to 5v power. This was not needed but I thought it was a nice touch.




 

Where to buy the parts


As promised I will provide links to purchase all parts needed and I have already provided the links to download the 3D printer files (STL) above.

  • LCD Screen - bought on amazon for $17.95 - here

  • Raspberry Pi - bought on Newark/Element14 for $35 - here

  • Mini Keyboard/Mouse - bought on amazon for $29.95 - here

  • Standalone Battery Charger- bought on amazon for $75.00 - here

  • Powered 7 Port USB Hub - bought on Parts-People.com for $14.95 - here

  • 64GB SSD Hard Drive - bought on Parts-People.com for $69.95 - here

  • Dell D600 Battery - bought on Parts-People.com for $88.50 - here


Schematic


Here is a schematic to show how everything is wired together. mobile-rpi-togo-opened-
Please share this build and if you have any questions or need help, please comment.



More Pictures



Topics: Gadgets & Peripherals Inventions & Innovations Mini / Nano PCs Raspberry Pi Technology News

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  • Bhagatjot Singh

    AWESOME.. great job! Hope to try it myself one day. Thanks!

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  • http://twitter.com/zackfreedman Zack Freedman

    My hackerspace, the Hoboken MakerBar, is just raving about this thing. Thanks for putting up the render files for the case, we’ll run one off.

    Very creative to use the screen’s regulator to power the Pi – we have lots of old laptop batteries we can salvage too.

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  • Blang

    What 3D printer do you have?

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  • Sergio

    Thank for the amazing post!

    In the schematic, why do you wire the USB postives with F3?

    Did the LCD include a power adaptor?

    What would be a better display to buy?

    Thanks!

    • nmorgan

      I am using that lead to power the Pi. On the newer version you can just back feed the USB port with power, but this is the first version and the Pi will not run right like that.

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  • AmazingArjan

    Great project! And well document. I like your solution to get the 5v from the monitor pcb. Clever!

    Any ideas about a bit bigger display, possible with a resistive touchscreen? I’d like to use it for a XBMC station in my kitchen.

    • nmorgan

      Thanks, I have already started looking into version 2. I will probably go with a 7″ screen, and touch would be a great option too. I will see what I can come up with.

      • JDL

        For version two could you please try to keep the price down.

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  • Pipould

    I really wonder if one 1GB swap on a 32GB micro sd card would damage it quickly…

    • JDL

      It probably wouldn’t do anything for a while but do you really want to waste a 32GB SD card?

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  • Liam

    Really like the 3D printed case and soldering directly to the USB port on the PI leaving the other one to be exposed!

    IIRC the 512Mb Pi’s USB current is only limited by the power supply.

    I wonder what kinda current the regulator in the LCD can supply without getting hot? If you want a good switched regulator board for stepping down ~8-40v to 5v then the PCB from in car phone chargers are pretty good, iPad ones are often rated to around 2.1A and android ones are perfect for the Pi at around 1A with microUSB.

    • nmorgan

      Sounds great. I will go pick one of those up and give it a try. Thanks

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  • thevac

    It reminds me of the linux pandora game console except fatter cheaper and i can get one in less than 5 years

    • totalizator

      You win, Sir. I wanted Pandora soo badly. Unfortunately there was no Kickstarter back then.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Randy-Smyth/100000509595815 Randy Smyth

      pandora have been available to buy for a wile now but there price is to steep and are simply old tech when a android smart phone can do the same thing cheaper.

      • nope

        No it cant, and also you are comparing vastly different things.

    • http://www.facebook.com/rene.dujardin.7 Rene Dujardin

      The pandora is not a game console, it’s a PC.
      Also, it’s available in a week, and it’s much more powerful than the pi, from a hardware point of view, and much more powerful than any phone because it’s a true open device with tons of software.

      • boomer

        how do i purchase a pandora???

        • Bob Loblaw

          Go to their website and buy one.

          • TheGentleman123

            lol

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  • Enersium

    How did you connect the LCD screen to your raspberrypi, why do I miss always those important descriptions :(

    • James Churchill

      It’s completely straightforward – the lcd connects directly to the composite-out port on the Pi. The RCA socket would have been removed from the Pi and the cable soldered directly just for space reasons.

    • nmorgan

      I did even need to remove the port. I just soldered to pins on the back of the board.

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  • Bastián Nuñez

    This is an awesome project c: I can imagine such a small laptop with some emulators, and joystick input, would be great for some retro gaming on the go. The case is fantastic, too – the backlight LED is a great addition.

    A small typo: “The Raspberry Pi board I am using is a model B (revision 1) but you can use the model B (version 2)”. The first model mentioned should be Model A. ;)

    • Henderson101

      No. The B has had 2 revisions. The 2nd doubled the RAM from 256 to 512mb

      • nmorgan

        You are correct. I am using model B of the first version.

    • nmorgan

      I am now working on a gamepad that will slide in and replace the keyboard transforming it into Picade-to-go.

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  • Nils Hitze

    Awesome project – can you upload all .stl files to Thingiverse please so we can fork/change them?

    • nmorgan

      I will get it done today.

    • nmorgan

      All STLs have now been uploaded to thingiverse.com

      • Nils Hitze

        Awesome!

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  • The

    Please make a video showing us the device, super cool !

    • nmorgan

      I will try to get a video posted next week.

      • http://www.facebook.com/codymorgan4 Cody J. Morgan

        It’s been almost 2 weeks lol :p

    • nmorgan

      Raspberry Pi-to-go Video has been uploaded. Enjoy… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E89s2h9swIc

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  • Seth Goldberg

    How much was your 3d printer, and what model is it?

    • nmorgan

      I used my pp3dp 3d printer that cost $1500.

  • oz123

    it is not really clear how you connected the screen to the rpi. Can you show a picture of that?

    • nmorgan

      The screen has a composite input and I soldered that input directly to the back of the RPi’s composite connector. I did not need to remove the connector but will most like on my next version to make it thinner.

      • Caleb Couture

        The raspberry pi that I have does not have a composite video connector… only an HDMI output. How do I connect this without an adapter?

        • nigratruo

          Look again, of course it does have a composite out. At least mine has and any other I have ever seen. it is a RCA connector.

          • tdeamicis

            I have the RCA connector, but how would I use this LCD? I was able to get an RCA male-to-male connector but that won’t work, I would imagine not enough power. Is this only working because you have a larger batter attached? Or is there another (reversible) way to connect this exact LCD to the Rasp Pi? Thank you so much in advance for the help!

  • http://twitter.com/cr0w13y Daniel Crowley

    This is brilliant! I am going to have a go at my own version! Thanks!

    • Alexander

      So I’m I

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  • Danny

    What you use wifi and Bluetooth? Or which card is the best for this?

    • http://twitter.com/Gnabergasher Gabernasher

      I think it’s more, why wouldn’t you have WiFi and Bluetooth Bluetooth allows you a mic, speaker, a lot. WiFi…why wouldn’t a portable computer have WiFi?

      • Bob Loblaw

        He’s trying to ask what bluetooth and wifi modules were used. Answer: It looks like a Ipazzport for the keyboard which comes with a small bluetooth dongle that will work for most anything but you’d need to hook up a USB keyboard or another BT dongle etc. to use BT a headset or something.

        As for the wifi adapter- any will do as long as it’s small and reliable and has a good range.

        • http://twitter.com/Gnabergasher Gabernasher

          I guess I misinterpreted it.

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  • King Awesome

    Looks like a classic Apple design that was just ripped off!

    • Justin

      go super troll!

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  • Astu

    I’m going to buy a wireless keyboard&mouse and a OTG cable. It’s just 20€, an puggled to my phone turns it into a computer.

    And if I’m at home I just have to connect it via HDMI to my screen.

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  • Ben

    could you provide some information about the weight of the pc?… ah yeah.. great work!

    • nmorgan

      1.65lbs

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  • Trea

    No video of it working?

    • nmorgan

      I will have a video up next week. The pi runs great and even my 3 year old has used it.

      • http://www.facebook.com/codymorgan4 Cody J. Morgan

        Has the video been uploaded anywhere, yet?

    • nmorgan

      Sorry for the delay. Here is the video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E89s2h9swIc

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  • http://www.facebook.com/daria.jansen.3 Daria Jansen

    this is incredible. How proud can i be that you invented yet again!

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  • http://www.facebook.com/andre.deguerin Andre de Guerin

    Nice, maybe add a touch screen based on linear CCD?
    Adding a multi-OS feature by using 4 chips switched to a single SD controller would be
    handy, maybe use 4 microSD cards with common data pins and a software driven switch triggering a reset and bank switch to the next card.

    • Alex

      You Can Use BerryBoot to put multiple operating systems on one SD Card

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  • TKF

    Interesting how long is it going to live on this battery, any benchmarks?

    • nmorgan

      Battery last a little more than 10 hours. I have not run any benchmarks on it to see how much better it preforms using an SSD hard drive over non-SSD models although I can tell a small improvement in speed.

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  • Tech D00D

    Can you put this on amazon?

    • nmorgan

      This is not for sale, it is only a proof of concept.

      • Sally M

        Can you take orders for the case? Or can I volunteer as an independent tester of the case? Don’t have the tools to make it, can do the other parts.

        • http://www.facebook.com/codymorgan4 Cody J. Morgan

          I know there are companies online that will print it for you, if you upload the design, but I’d like to get it straight from him as well.

      • Tech D00D

        I meant, can you put the finished product on amazon?

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  • Xison

    I have the keyboard you use in this project and it is quite uncomfortable to type on as the trackpad gets in the way. They also make a version with the keyboard split and trackpad in the center. I havent tried it because this one works for its intended purpose (htpc) and I’m sure the kids will break it sooner or later.

    Also, this keyboard does work on a wired connection if you choose to use it. So you could hardwire it to a usb port.

    • MTH

      You couldn’t’ give a link for that keyboard, could you? Is it cheap?

      • nmorgan

        The links to purchase all parts are in the article.

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  • timmytmoney7

    could any power supply work or do i have to buy a dell battery/charger ?

    • nmorgan

      If you use a standard Dell laptop battery like it did. You will have to buy a standalone battery charger that can charge the battery without a laptop. The charger will have a 9 pin battery connector on it. I have included a here to the cheapest one I could find.

  • Rufus

    I think for the operating system you should use some mobile operating system like Android.

    • http://www.facebook.com/codymorgan4 Cody J. Morgan

      I heard android isn’t very stable on Pi yet.

  • http://www.facebook.com/timothy.anderson.902 Timothy Anderson

    Nice compact build, I have a LCD from a Dell Laptop, is there a way to use it as the screen?

    • nmorgan

      I have 100s of those sitting around too, and I’m sure it is possible with some sort of Chinese adapter/converter card. I looked into it briefly but opted for a simpler solution that anybody can do.

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  • http://stores.ebazr.com/Laptop-and-Desktop-Accessories_@115.aspx Laptop Accessories UK

    Insert the needle Pogo make her marks on iPad minute you as possible. If you are a graphic designer, artist, painter or looking to draw on the fly, and this pencil will do the trick.

  • abscomm

    Surely there are better deals to be had out there for $391.30

    • DIYGinger

      actually it’s $331.30

      • Zuckerton

        not if you take shipping into account.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/jacksonkl Jackson K. Landis

    Would it be possible to save space by opting for a 64 gig thumb drive? Is there really much of a difference, as aren’t both flash and SSD the same technology?

    • Nick

      If i recall correctly, SSD and Flash are very similar mediums for storing memory, but SSD can be re-written more, and is significantly faster, but much more expensive.

      • http://twitter.com/Gnabergasher Gabernasher

        But the USB connection it’s connected by is too slow to take advantage over using a thumb drive, and the price difference is worth it if it EVER wears out, which I’ve never had a thumb drive do.

        • Benedict Tiu

          Isnt the speed difference of SSD-on-USB versus USB thumbdrive still quite noticable? I have an external USB HD (USB 2.0) and it can move files at least twice quicker than my other good thumb drives (also USB 2.0). I wouldn’t put my trust on a really big 64GB thumb drive as there is a possibility that it’s a multilayered (I’m not sure of the specific term but I read about it before) one which eats up the r/w capacity faster.

    • nigratruo

      Using a normal flash drive is the better choice in my eyes. I don’t know why they go for SSD, because USB can only do a small fraction of the transfer speed that a SSD can do, so you waste a lot of money for nothing, like putting wings on your Mack truck: although they might make a plane fly, they will not do that for the truck ;-)

  • http://www.facebook.com/codymorgan4 Cody J. Morgan

    Looking forward to see the video. When you build your next version, you should make a short video showing how everything works.

  • Marco

    Great Work! Let me know if you can recharge the battery while using the device or not.

    Marco

    • nmorgan

      Yes the Pi-to-go will still function while charging the battery just like a regular laptop. I made sure of that…

      • Marco from Italy

        Thanks for the reply. Can i see the battery level without the battery is in charge? When you will post new cheaper solution?

        • nmorgan

          When the battery is charging, the charger does not display charge level. When charger is unplugged from wall but still plugged into battery, it will automatically show charge level. As for cheaper solution, I messing around with a few things not sure when I will complete it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tim.tran.334 Tim Tran

    im not sure where to solder exactly.

  • ArduinoFreak

    Can I use some other hard drive, like the Dell Z600 E4200 (R075R)?

    It’s cheaper, and I’m trying to cut costs.

    • nmorgan

      Z600 / E4200 uses a uSATA drive. That is not compatible with most external hard drive caddies. I am working on getting some more of the drives I used for the build and I think I will be able to sell them for $69.

  • ThatGuy

    Does the unit have a clamshell design, with hinges?

    If it does not, that would be a great feature to incorporate into the second version of the design!

    • nmorgan

      No hinges, but I may make a version with hinges that is much thinner. I will see what I can come up with.

  • Pablo Polanco

    I think its a great build Im going to build it as soon as I get my pi congrats for making such an ingenious design

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  • Joe

    Great man!

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  • DarkwarrioR

    this linux looks almost like windows. Does it also place running task on the taskbar like windows? That would be great.

    • nmorgan

      Yes, it looks and feels like just like Windows, taskbar and all.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/kurt.thomasburgess Kurt Thomas Burgess

    Thanks for the tutorial, but is there a way you can do this with a cheaper power supply? Also how mucg time can you get on a full charge with the power supply you have made this? Thanks

    • nmorgan

      working on a cheaper solution. I wanted to be safe before being cheap.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/tim.tran.334 Tim Tran

    could you please post more pictures?

    • nmorgan

      sure, what would you like to see more of?

      • http://www.facebook.com/tim.tran.334 Tim Tran

        The negative connection from the battery to the LCD screen. I am in the process of making one of these and i don’t want to screw anything up. Also, if it’s not too much of a pain, I would like to see the connection between the usb to LCD as well.

        • nmorgan

          I just added a new image that shows in more detail how everything is wired.

          • http://www.facebook.com/tim.tran.334 Tim Tran

            You are the man! thanks!

  • BJS

    I bought the LCD screen you recommend but it came with very poor instructions about connection. It has 3 wires red, yellow and white each with a connector. Which do I connect the 12V to and which is the composite signal input from the RPi? There are no other connection points.

    • nmorgan

      I just added a new image to the article that shows in more detail how everything is wired.

  • Kari

    So what can I do when there is not a single 3d printer around in my country?

  • MTH

    Do the side panels of your design come off easily to expose the USB and charge ports?

    • nmorgan

      Yes, it is easy. Only one side comes off to expose the charge ports.

  • MTH

    How much for the WiFi and Bluetooth USB dongles? And is the Bluetooth dongle necessary if you opt for a wired keyboard? I feel like charging the battery and the keyboard would be a bit of a nuisance.

    • nmorgan

      $10-$15 each on amazon. Charging the battery is easy. The side door cover comes off and you just plug it in. You can still use it while it is charging.

  • http://gplus.to/indronil Indronil Mondal

    amazing for time pass 8)

  • http://www.facebook.com/codymorgan4 Cody J. Morgan

    Has a video been posted yet? & Whats the progress report on the next version?

    • nmorgan

      Video has been posted. Thanks for the support. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E89s2h9swIc

      • http://www.facebook.com/codymorgan4 Cody J. Morgan

        Great video! I just expected a short video of it running, but this was much better.

      • http://www.facebook.com/codymorgan4 Cody J. Morgan

        Can’t wait for the next version!

  • http://www.facebook.com/SSANDVICHH Chris Daniels

    This truly Is a great idea, so small! I was wondering if I could perhaps use your idea in my own project? Of course the design, materials, et will be different. So could I use your idea?
    Thanks.

    • nmorgan

      The project is open source. So yes, build away and make it better and share.

  • http://www.facebook.com/paulocesarcs Paulo Cesar Pc

    I found the project very good, but the value to build and loud, and practically the value of a notebook.

  • http://www.facebook.com/paulocesarcs Paulo Cesar Pc

    I found the project very good, but the value to build and loud, and practically the value of a notebook…

  • Pi Phone

    could some one send me the case because I dint have a 3D printer if so please email me at ninjaspazz99@gmail.com thank you in advance

  • Pi Phone

    could some one send me the case because I dint have a 3D printer if so please email me at ninjaspazz99@gmail.com thank you in advance

  • steve

    is there a way to use my laptop screen (only screen not the laptop) as a monitor here?

  • Wal Webster

    Sensational — love it!!

  • Heyapple!

    Where can i buy the case? Please help!

  • Heyapple!

    Hey could you do a video tutorial on how to do this. I am a 13 year old and i really whant to make something like this.,i gotmthe raspberry pi model b revision 2 for my birthday.
    Thanks

    • Hamilton Forbes-lane

      Yeah that would be great I am in the exact same situation and the same age lol

      • greenfire468

        lol me three

        • nick

          wtf me to :o

          • aaron9021

            im one year under but i count also

          • aaron9021

            did we all get one for our birth day?

          • mph121

            I think so lol. I agree, a video tutorial would be great!

          • Thomas Barden

            same here and im 12 to

          • NoHakkerHere

            Yes I would like a video tutorial too and btw nice way to start a chain reaction though i am good with Raspberry Pis

          • chickey

            Ya same got it a while back roughly same age and have no idea what to do with it

          • Cody

            Same…..

        • EasyAsPi

          haha me too lol but i ten

          • James Doedtman Allen Bail

            no worrys…im ten too.and im a lot more (silly) with raspberry pi’s.. : )

          • I like trains

            im 12 and im gonna get a rpi and make a portable retro game console :D

        • Ticonderoga

          I’m was 11 when I go a RPi now I’m 12 and I got the newer b+

        • raspberry pi guy

          A tutorial would be good.

    • Obinna Onyeije

      I’m 17 and I don’t know how to do this either. A video tutorial would be great!

    • benjaminleehopkins

      hey im 13 to i would love to see a video to
      tutorial on how to make this.

      • Okjrgkosdjgokshdfg

        first, u guys should learn how to solder

    • James Doedtman Allen Bail

      your greatly on to something…mind if i join you? Im 10 and im trying to build a retro computer. : ) Retro means old incase you dont know.

    • raspberry pi guy

      Yeah, I could definitely do with a video tutorial.

    • raspberry pi guy

      Yeah. I NEED a tutorial.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=710465779 Kevin LeRoy

    hey I REALLY would love if you could somehow sell the parts in a kit form to me .. Kevinleroy@gmail.com

  • deraeler

    Nice design. Some great suggestions here too. For my own project I”d like to feed teh composite video (and audio) into an existing head unit via RCA. Also tapping the car’s 12V supply would be preferred, but presume some sort of power regulation would be needed, and a step-down transformer for 5V. (Maybe both are available in a single circuit?). Anyway, I’m an amateur electrician, but pretty good at following instructions/plans etc. – any suggestions welcomed.

  • DRCNIEL

    I got a estimate and it was £800 to build the case alone

    • Curius

      If you go to Shapeways, you can have it printed and shipped to you if you give them the STL files.

  • Tom

    Can I buy one off you

  • Anthony

    Hey, really nice build! One question: Does every regular LCD screen has a 5V power source? I want to build a similar one as a mobile multimedia device but with a littlebig bigger and whider screen and I want to be shure before spending money.

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  • Curius

    How did you connect the USB hub to the 5v thing? Also, how did you create the swap partition?

  • http://www.facebook.com/codymorgan4 Cody J. Morgan

    Have you worked on an updated one yet?

    • nmorgan

      I have two new designs that completely different from each other and are really pretty cool. They are not complete yet, but I will keep you posted. I have been out for the last couple of weeks because I just had a kid and it have been keep me busy. Thank for all the support.

  • Jason

    Could you make video tutorial on this because I’ve got it all planned out but I can’t really see how it works.

    • nmorgan

      Jason, what are you having a problem with exactly. I will see if I can help you.

      • Hamilton Forbes-lane

        I have the same sort of problem cus I don’t know where to get like the little things like creating the swap partition and wiring things together. I don’t want to order the things until I know exactly how to do it thx Nathan :)

        • Hamilton Forbes-lane

          Also how did you get the switch and the fuse together? And where did you get them from?

  • Javier Sobrino Sanz

    hello, i am trying to create my own laptop based in this project, although I don’t know how to create the power circuit.

    I have a battery with two outputs, one is 12V (for a 4,3″ or 7″ screen) and other one is 5V usb output.

    I understand that I can connect through a powered USB hub the keyboard, the trackpad, wifi, bluetooth and a ssd drive… my question is about how to connect the raspberry, I can guess that i can use another usb port for powering the RBp, but as i must connect the usb hub both in the RBp usb port and the RBp microUSB power, i am afraid to destroy the unit with a shortcircuit or something similar… I am afraid I am not explaining good my problem, sorry.

    my question is… could I directly connect the 5V power lead to the RBp microUSB, and then connect wifi, keyboard, trackpad, bluetooth and ssd hard drive to the standard usb port of the RBp without extra power??

    Or how could I close the circuit for a better performance?

    You don’t explain too much about this issue and is the most important for me. I would be thankful if you could help me at this point.

    thank you, kind regards.

    • nmorgan

      There is a schematic that shows how I did it, and I provided above. If you have purchase the new Rpi revision 2 (512MB), you can just connect your 5v power to you RPi micro USB input or solder it to the input or solder it directly to the positive and negative pins of your RPi USB output. Thanks for the question, hope this helps.

  • addamay123

    How does this not overheat? There isn’t a heatsink on the parts list.

  • cheetomeister01

    What is the name of the blue board that sits on top of the batteries?

  • bowty

    How much would the case cost to be printed? I would like to build this, and just ordered a pi, but dont have a 3d printer. Thanks

  • Op_tic

    in the pictures, the Pi is powered trough the USB port , and not normally trough the mini USB Port ?

  • Sam

    I worry about your drawing so much power from the 5v regulator on the LCD. It’s probably not designed to supply any more power than the LCD itself needs. And drawing all that power, plus feeding an external port, is abusing it, and asking for trouble!

    The other issue is efficiency. The LCD may just drop down the 11v to 5v with a linear regulator. The extra 6v is dissipated as heat! As well as unwanted heat, it’s obviously a large waste of power. You can buy DC-DC converters from an electronics supply place. These convert the voltage using a little coil, and can be 95% or so efficient. Versus less than 50% for the linear regulator.

    I’d really consider adding a DC-DC converter. Also known as “buck” or “boost” converters. They’re available small enough to fit in.

    Also your SSD drive. It’s expensive! And it will suffer wear just like an SD card or any other flash device. A USB memory stick would’ve been cheaper. The SSDs are much faster than memory sticks, but since you’re using USB, the USB connection is the bottleneck. So you probably won’t find it runs any faster. I could be wrong, try it out! Altho USB memory sticks do vary in speed quite a bit. It might be better to put your swap partition on your SD card, since 4GB SD cards are cheap and easy to replace if it ever does wear out.

    I suppose since you had it hanging around, your SSD was free. But otherwise I wouldn’t use one, I’d stick with a memory stick.

    As for the rest of the system though, excellent! I’m still jealous!

  • Sam

    Actually… thinking about a DC-DC converter. If you got a powerful enough one you could run the whole system off it, then use a 3.7v lithium battery to power it. You’d need a DC-DC converter for the LCD’s 9v-12v too. But overall those, plus a lithium battery and charger, would have saved a lot of money on the laptop battery and charger.

    It’s generally better to buy batteries as single cells. Laptop batteries have a lot of price added on just because they’re unique to the manufacturer, so laptop owners don’t have the choice of shopping around.

  • Justin W

    is the Raspberry Pi being powered by the usb hub? Can someone explain?

    • Hamilton Forbes-lane

      Yeah it is I really would like it for there to be a video tut though

    • Hamilton Forbes-lane

      Basically the battery powers the the screen an then the 5b output goes to the hub and then the hub goes to the pi look at the pics of schematics:)

  • StephensAlex97

    how should I get the case, if I do not have a 3D printer?

  • Patrick OBrien

    Have you looked at re-purposing old or broken laptops? If it were possible to use the laptop’s shell, display, keyboard, battery, and power supply, it would make for one awesome Raspberry PI.

  • pcguy

    hey can you please start selling the

    Mobile Pi-to-Go: Portable Raspberry Pi Computer
    please!!!!!

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  • john latza

    Hey Nathan, my name is John. I love this idea, it’s brilliant, I am just having one problem. One, I cannot print out the last part, the back door. I keep getting an error in slic3r about intersecting facets.

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  • vcxc

    where do u buy

  • Ertew

    This hardware are invented few years ago, and is named OpenPandora Console.

    Compare: 4700mAh Baterry pack at 11.1V give about 52Wh and only 10h work for rPi
    4200mAh single cell at 3.7V give 15Wh, same 10h for playing but 20h while text reading.
    Pandora have nice shape, is open source and only 100$ more.

  • Hamilton Forbes-lane

    Hello nick I love your project and I am keen to try it myself but I am only12so I do not have a full understanding on how to builddo you already have or would be willing to make a more step by step guide thx so much plz reply

  • Hamilton Forbes-lane

    Do you have a step by step guide?

    • nmorgan

      Sorry, no step by step, but there are schematics and a thorough description above.

  • Jacob Meader

    can this fit a gizmo expolorer?

    • nmorgan

      Might fit, but nothing will line up. The case would need to be specially designed for it. Sorry

  • Jacob Meader

    i dont see where i can buy the case

    • nmorgan

      You cant buy the case. The 3D STL files I have made free for download and you can print them yourself on your own printer or there are a number of websites that you can upload the files to and they will print it for a small fee.

  • javavian

    how difficult would it be to switch the 3.5 inch scree with a 4.5 inch

    • nmorgan

      Probably not possible without a complete resign of the case. I am working a something new that will address the small screen problem.

  • Hamilton Forbes-lane

    You post a link to the he’d caddy circuitboard for the sad please?

  • Hamilton Forbes-lane

    Also could you give me some direction or a link to get the switch thx :)

  • Mike

    Could you add the new camera module in the next one

    • nmorgan

      I will look into it. Space is an issue. I am trying to keep it small; much smaller than the first one.

      • TheGentleman123

        well as long as it incorporates all you need, it seems pretty compact anyhiow.

  • Curious

    Can you actually close the portable pi?

    • nmorgan

      No it is stuck in the open position.

  • SMS

    What 3D printer did you use?

    • nmorgan

      UP! PP3DP

  • Karlwithak00

    How much does it cost and is it possible to swap parts and still be compadable with the pi.

  • mindstormerguy

    How do you wire the SATA SSD to the raspberry pi ?

    please reply

    • Kreativf

      He used an sata to usb adapter, which makes me wonder why the hell they took an SSD in the first place, since a USB drive would actually do the trick. Maybe because of better access times, but still, it is a real waste.

    • Benedict Tiu

      Sata to USB adapter can be bought as Hard drive caddy/hard rdrive casing. The sata card is inside :) SSD was used because of the choice to use swap I guess

  • Lincoln Badley

    Can you Show a list of EVERYTHING you need for this project?!

  • Lincoln Badley

    Can you tell me where you got the battery charger?

  • Cody Morgan

    Any work on the new one yet?

  • smith patel

    i tore apart my samsung galaxy s4 and used the screen with the pie and it works it does need some modification but it works and the version 2 pi works great and mine is thinner i pulled out the components and laid them seperately making it flatter and thinner

    • Benedict Tiu

      May I know/see how the wiring goes between the screen and the Pi? Thanks!

  • Tim

    you should make and sell the case for those who dont have a 3D printer

  • greenfire468

    i dont want that much memory so is there an easier way to power the whole unit?

    • zeke

      OF COURSE!! just wire 8 AA batterys in a series instead of that huge battery

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  • Obinna Onyeije

    Hello. I am really excited to build the Raspberry pi computer, but I have some problems. First, I do not know where to find a hard drive caddy for the memory, nor do I know how to set up a swap partition. Secondly, I haven’t been able to make heads or tails of the wiring schematics. And third, although minor, I’d like to know if I can modify the casing to be hinged, and therefore more portable.

    • Benedict Tiu

      Hard drive caddy = hard drive casing. I think the author forgot to mention where he bought the hard drive casing. A hard drive casing already contains the SATA Card to which you will connect the SSD and the USB hub.

  • Awesomer

    Have you tested this at all, I am thinking of getting one of them if it will work

  • Matt Ellingson

    Is the SSD powered by the USB or does it need a power source wired to it? I don’t think I’ll do something quite this elaborate, I’ve got mine running RaspBMC and if I could get a hard drive built into it that doesn’t need an additional power source, I would be thrilled.

    • Benedict Tiu

      Only 3.5″ mechanical harddrives need external power sources, but I think SSDs only need USB power :)

  • matt

    how did you connect the SSD via SATA to the rPi?

    • Benedict Tiu

      SATA connects SSD to USB right? I think he then connected USB to the USB HUB :)

  • AlbertoAru

    Can I use smartphones and tablets components to save money? I could use the tablet screen (7″), all the batteries (tablet: 2000mA + smartphone: 3x1500mA) and an usb charger.

    Is this posible? I would save $181,45

  • Sameh Ossama Nabil

    can you buy me a raspberry pi portable case because i don’t have any 3D printers

  • http://www.carinsurancerates.com/ rooferironboots

    Thats incredible

  • mrgreen

    is there a way to build it without a 3d printer?

  • boomer

    Is there a way I can buy one of these without having to make one?

  • http://www.braindump2go.com/ victoracid

    Great…!!

  • lol

    Any way to make that cheaper

  • lol

    Can you print a case out for me when I make one I will pay you $10 and shipping I cant afford a 3d printer

  • ghfame

    Can you show the connections to the hub? You have it wrapped up in tape
    in the picture and elude to “all parts are soldered directly to hub”.

  • http://chainsawreviews.biz/ anvilside

    Nice

  • http://hostgator1centcoupon.net/ jowl rude

    good one

  • http://www.bestfakedoctorsnotes.net/ birdpineapple

    amazing

  • Dann

    How could you make a foldable laptop instead of a rigid one that is kind of un-portable? Also, Do you need a heat sync for this?

    • Benedict Tiu

      Heat sinks are not required for the RasPi as stated in the wesite of RasPi, but there’s no harm in placing an appropriately sized one :)

  • Jeremy Van Eps

    Nathan,
    We are trying to duplicate this project to use for another project of our own. We purchased this battery and we disassembled it but now the battery wont charge. The board that lights up the LEDs for power isn’t damaged but the ribbon cable connecting the board to the main one where the charger plugs in did get disconnected. Can you offer any advise?

  • amu

    Do you not sell your case?

  • Cedric

    NEED i the
    64 Gb Ssd Harddriver

  • Cedric

    WHERE CAN I BUY THE RED THINGS WHICH I CAN MAKE WEG ON THE RIGHT AND LWFT SIDE

  • the tompstanator

    can u make a tutorial on this please

  • the tompstanator

    oh, and is it possible to do that without soldering

    • Benedict Tiu

      Electric tapes can, but the results would be a poorly interconnected pieces of electronic. I think :)

  • http://www.dressfirst.com/ fishyrecondite

    mindblowing

  • Dave

    Nice work. But you might be wasting half of your battery power. Do you know the difference between linear regulators and switching regulators? (Linears throw away the extra power (12 v to 5 v) and switching reg’s convert the 12 v power to 5 v power efficiently.)

    I have used a CUI V7805-500 (higher current versions are available) on my sailboat where I have 12 v power. (Available from DigiKey).The R-Pi only draws about 150 ma from 12 v with this regulator. I suspect the regulator in the LCD display may be a linear which wastes half of the power.

    Thanks for all the other tips.
    Dave heffler

    • Benedict Tiu

      I would like to know.. How would you know if the regulator is a linear or a switching one?

  • William

    how do you add the 1gb swap partition. Sorry, just curious

  • William

    How did you add the 1gb partition to the 64gb ssd. Sorry, I’m just curious

  • michael wilson

    Does it fold?

  • anonymous111

    how much 3d printer filament did this take

  • cheif

    How do i connect the battery to the raspberry pi

    • Benedict Tiu

      He connected the battery to the screen first. Then he found an onboard voltage regulator in the screen’s pcb then connected that 5V regulator to the Pi/USB hub :)

  • Sir_Blue

    does this require battery power? can’t you just use a mains power adaptor?

    • Benedict Tiu

      I think he added the battery for it to be a portable raspi. But of course you could just use a power adaptor if you dont need it to be portable :)

  • chickey

    They are out of hard drive does any one know where else I might get one or anything else that would work the exact same way for roughly the same price

  • http://www.amcsquare.com/ AMC Square Services

    Nice blog, its great article informative post.

  • slango20

    the wiring is very poor, you don’t need all the plastic around the USB extenders, you just need a wrap of electrical tape, and a 64GB usb stick is better than an ssd with a usb dock, and you can use the wireless keyboard’s battery as a booster to the main one, or charge it off the main one, or remove it altogether. why do you insist on keeping useless plastic on the inside of a device in need of re-sizing? and you can remove the GPIO if you aren’t using them, along with the SMT power jack (it can recieve power via the 5v GPIO plug) and the ethernet (it has wifi) and the two tall usb can be replaced with one, and connect directly to the solder pads like you did, the composite jack can also be removed, along with the big ass battery being replaced by a smaller 7V one with a non-proprietary 12v charger and plug, it would be nice if you kept the HDMI jack exposed, and you can jumper the headphone jack and extend it flush with the case. this is a piss-poor job of building a craptop, too many loose wires and too much un-needed plastic crap inside

    • Benedict Tiu

      Isn’t the HDMI jack exposed? 64GB usb might burn out quickly if you plan to use swap on it. I’m actually thinking of using a model A for this one since wifi will take the place of ethernet anyway :)

  • KazeOnline

    how did you get the batteries outof the case

  • demot gouk

    How did u connect the screen to the rs pi?

    • Benedict Tiu

      He used the RCA jack on the raspi. But he soldered the leads of the lcd screen directly to the RCA jack instead of using a male to male connector.

  • ashish

    what is the cost of manifacturing

  • ashish

    did you use ubuntu in it

  • Dan Rulos

    good job! greetings from spain

  • Mrbobokins

    Is their a cheaper alternative to the battery charger, I want to build this but it seems a bit pricey.

  • Brendan

    Can I buy one please email me walkerbrendan1259@gmail.con

  • 34CE

    Anyone know of a cheap and reliable 3D printer I can get? Also I would love to be able to buy one too. Thank you!

  • Shaun Ellis

    Im being charged £192 for the casing is this right ?

  • http://www.isacco.altervista.org Isacco Garcia Peveri

    Do you sell it preassembled? I am considering it. :)

  • Gabby Tan

    Video tutorial please

  • dalton

    where did you get the on/off switch

  • Tomas Barthalot

    Hi, just one question as regards the battery. As far as I understand Li-ion batteries can not drop too low on voltage, the pcb attached to the 9 pin thing regulates that?

  • LJ

    I’ll be checking at work for any broken Dell D600 laptops.

  • http://www.obliviongizmo.com/ Neal C

    Ooooh, using the screen’s regulator to power the Pi is a nice touch!
    I assume it puts out plenty of current, seeing as your peripherals all appear to work :)

    I’ve been working a similar project (battery-powering a Pi with similar 6v-12v screen) but I got ‘em both running off the same 5v supply – I bypassed the screen’s regulator, and am supplying the 5v via a separate one…

    I might attempt to undo that hack now!

    (My method -does- mean that I can turn the screen off separately via a Mosfet though)

    Does this work when the battery is charging, or do you have to turn it off to charge?

  • Malone

    Can you use anouther batter instead of the laptop battery

    • Benedict Tiu

      I believe that the author chose to use a laptop battery because it’s more reliable at providing a constant voltage and he has a spare laptop battery at home. I think it is possible to use a different battery provided that it can provide stable power output at the voltage your hardware requires. I might try using AA NiMH batts but it’s also quite risky for me.

  • masteryoshi2

    Can I have a list of all things need for this (wires, kits, parts)

  • martiankitten

    Is the solid state dive optional?

    • Benedict Tiu

      I believe SSD is optional. You can use the RasPi with only an SD card. SSD is only for additional storage and optional swap partition.

  • pmalone

    i’m in the process of building one and want to know can it be done without the laptop hdd. i have a 64 gb sd card. do i really need anything more? also what are you referring to when you say that you are swapping a gig? does this have to happen and how do you do it? i’ll get a 64 gb flash drive if i need to but just want to understand if there is a huge difference in the wiring setup without the laptop hdd. thanks for the help!

    • Benedict Tiu

      You can remove the ssd. No difference in wiring setup. Just remove it from the usb hub.

      the reason he used ssd is you can use it for swap. swap is using a part of your storage device (usually flash storage) as sort of like extended RAM or something. SD cards are not up to this task because they burn out quickly if you make them do swap. swap is optional, but recommended I guess.

  • Katharine

    Hi, I am 15 and tring to build my first computer. I looked at the parts list and wiring diagram, but I don’t know if I am missing somthing.
    1) do I need to buy the SDD HDD, wifi, Bluetooth, and keyboard USBs sepratley?
    2)do I need an on off switch?
    3) Is the green USB hub from the 7 port USB hub?
    4)do I need to get wire? Like the av wire
    5) what is the green board next to the 64 Gbhard drive?
    6) do I need to buy a 2A fuse?
    Thanks

    • Benedict Tiu

      1) SDD HD is optional for more storage and swap memory
      wifi bluetooth and keyboard are usually separate items. you may mor may not buy them all, it depends on how far you want to go

      5)that is a sata card which can be found when you buy a hard drive casing. it connects your ssd to usb

  • Benedict Tiu

    @nmorgan:disqus One part you forgot to mention is what kind of USB sata card you used.. How much did it cost and what brand did you use?

    Another question. Did you have to check the amp output of the 5V regulator on the LCD? Since you would be powering a lot of things on the usb hub, then the input to the usb hub would have to be at least 1.5 amps or so.. right?

    Also, is it safe to assume that any LCD screen around the size you used would also have the 5V regulator built in? Thanks to anyone who can help in advance! I love this build and it’s making me want to buy a pi :D

  • Benedict Tiu

    Dude step by step please? Or anything? I would love to see steps :)

  • bob

    lame instuctions

  • chris56123

    next time add external dvd drive an a 7 inch screen an a rpi cooling fan + a rpi with 512mb ram :)!

  • AA

    332$ for such weak device seems to be bad idea

  • ro8658

    Is there any way to make the case without the 3D printer, please!?

    • i am not.a.moron!

      sculpteo is a site where you can turn in files for things and the will print it out and send it to you

  • i am not.a.moron!

    could this be able to run things like portal if it had enough memory? I know that a guy got raspberry pi to run minecraft but don’t know if you have to modify it to do that specifically. Could it run windows as well?

  • i am not.a.moron!

    also could it have better sd card with more gb?

  • Randy

    Is it Closable?

  • Lucas Walc

    This is awesome

  • Cody Mcqueen

    I love what you have done! I have replicated this for a class project. I have everything working thusfar except for one simple detail…i cant get the overscan to work within the OS to fit the screen. Im running “sudo nano /boot/config.txt” at the terminal and no matter what i set the top, bottom, left and right overscan it will not change the resolution. What am i doing wrong? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

  • abigger

    Is there a hard drive that is 32 gigs that I could use for this project? (That is maybe a little bit cheaper too)

  • Cody Mcqueen

    @abigger. You can use a 16GB SD card and make the device work virtually the same way. Or even an 8GB SD card. (Depending on how much your gonna use your pi for). The 64GB SSD he used for this is not necessary for the functionality of the device. He is just REALY good and he can! lol

  • Adam Caldwell

    Would you mind if we upgraded this design a bit? I think I could make it thinner.

  • Question

    Does the composite cable carry the powersupply for the raspberry pi board

  • Sbigger

    How do I get the battery out of the case???

  • john

    can it do google

  • john

    I want to know so i know if i should make it

  • Sbigger

    You should try but I am having difficulties with the screen. I soldered the composite cable on and connected the battery to the power cable but it still won’t turn on. Please can anyone help me?

  • abigger

    Hello, is there any reason why the screen wont turn on when i connect the power cords?

  • mooska

    You should make on with the B+

  • François Simoneau

    Can you make youtube video for all step for make your version please ?

  • fsw

    You’ve reinvented the netbook.

  • raspberry pi guy

    I didn’t get the part about the extended storage. Could someone help me out about that?

  • raspberry pi guy

    I don’t get the part about the extended storage. Can anybody tell me what

  • raspberry pi guy

    I don’t get the part about the extended storage. Can anybody tell me what that means?

    Sorry about the impartial sentence. My computer acted weird.

  • raspberry pi guy

    I don’t get the part about the extended storage. Can anybody tell me what that means?

  • AwesomeSauce

    Can I buy one premade off you, or do I have to build it myself?

  • BBMoey

    Awsome BUT I dont have a 3D Printer any other way of getting parts

  • AdenRidesDragons

    pi plays minecraft, thats the main reason I like this design… (can a pandora do that?) I don’t have a phone. :)

  • AdenRidesDragons

    oh yeah I’m 13 too and would like a video tutorial…

  • AdenRidesDragons

    I only just noticed that this discution took place over 2 years ago